A visit to SparkLab at the Queensland Museum is bound to ignite curiosity, spark intrigue and provide hours of entertainment. From witnessing fascinating live experiments at the Science Bar, to getting hands-on in the maker space, families will learn, be amazed and have fun at the truly awesome SparkLab.
The Sciencentre Reimagined
In 2018, SparkLab underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, the first since its initial opening in 2004. The engaging and educational facility showcases hands-on learning to spark creativity, curiosity and confidence in discovering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in fun and innovative ways.
SparkLab includes 40 exhibits across three zones, allowing for flexible facilitated learning experiences. It also includes science shows, a science bar featuring hands-on experiments and demonstrations and a maker space which gives visitors the opportunity to design, make, test and evaluate their creations in response to a ‘big question’ or challenge.
Visitors to the popular centre can be scientists for a day as they learn about, experiment with and test out numerous scientific theories and facts. Learn how to lift an 80kg fridge by yourself or pull yourself high up in the air and discover what creations make this more possible to achieve than you realise and why. See and even feel electricity as you touch the giant plasma ball or watch as water freezes and ice crystals are formed.
Another big attraction to the area is a giant interactive globe whose surface can change to reflect global interests, some in real time! See how the Earth’s surface changes to reflect the different time zones for day/night, watch real-time flight paths, see our social media connectivity worldwide or even transform it to the surface of one the planets in our solar system.
Science Bar – Live Experiments
What is sure to be one of the more popular attractions, Sparklab’s Science Bar invites curious visitors to view and take part in hourly live experiments. The audience gets to ask questions, test theories and examine results with a scientist as you discover which liquids are most flammable, create explosive foam and help discover the identity of unknown liquids.
What We Thought of SparkLab
The children loved exploring SparkLab, especially getting hands-on with the exhibits.
Mr 11’s favourite exhibits were the ones where he had to use his weight – trying to lift an 80kg fridge (with the help of his sister and father) and the ‘Pulley Up,’ where you have to work out how much effort it takes to lift yourself (it is really hard).
Miss 9 loved making shadows with the shapes on the shadow wall, folding paper to see how it flies and playing the colourful and musical thong-o-phone (can you play a song with a thong?)
Firstly, it was such a pleasure to attend a venue which was clean, air-conditioned and well laid out. Everything on display was in working order, had plenty of supplies and was clean and tidy.
The exhibits were engaging and allowed the children to participate in a variety of activities, challenging the way they think about the world and how and why things occur. While there is something for everyone, it is probably the primary school age kids that would benefit most from visiting SparkLab.
Parents can choose to just observe the kids as they go from exhibit to exhibit, or if you are like us, perhaps you want to join in the fun and get hands-on.
Our Hot Tips
All areas of SparkLab flow from one to the other, allowing children to move freely between exhibits. Children should be supervised closely at all times as some activities require more supervision and assistance than others, depending on the height, age and ability of the participant.
Given the size of the venue and how many hands-on activities are on offer, we recommend feeding your children before entering so they have plenty of energy to explore and experiment.
While You Are in the Area
SparkLab is conveniently located within the Queensland Museum complex, in the heart of South Bank. It is easy to tie in a visit to SparkLab with other activities. Visit the other parts of the Museum, pop over to QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art), explore the South Bank Parklands or have swim at the popular Street’s Beach.
Throughout the year there are several special events held at the museum involving SparkLab, one of the most popular being Night at the Museum. At this after-hours event, families can explore all parts of the Queensland Museum, including SparkLab.
The relaxed atmosphere and smaller crowds mean you can spend longer at your favourite parts of the museum and can enjoy special activities including face-painting, storytelling, kids activities, science displays and more.
How to Get to SparkLab
SparkLab is located within the Queensland Museum in South Bank.
You can visit the Queensland Museum everyday for free (read our review here)
For more information or to purchase tickets visit SparkLab.